Number of doctors in Brunei increasing

James Kon

The number of doctors in the country has increased during the past five years. The total number of doctors in the country until February 2021 was 738 with 51 per cent being locals holding positions in various fields of expertise as compared to 45 per cent five years ago, Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said.

Local doctors who have obtained specialised qualifications have also increased compared to five years ago. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has 88 local specialists, he said, during his budget deliberations on the 10th day of the Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

“Currently there are 112 local doctors who have specialised qualification. This is a 30-per-cent increase. These doctors provide services in 60 various areas at hospitals, health centres, public health and dentistry,” the minister said.

The number of nurses at the MoH is 40 per cent of the total workforce of the ministry which numbers at 2,500. Of this, 95 per cent are local nurses, the minister said.

He said with the increase in the number of local doctors and nurses, the MoH has conducted capacity building courses in collaboration with local educational institutions for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals with the teaching staff comprising local health professionals.

“In year 2022, the first graduates in Diploma in Health Science in Dental Hygienist and Therapist numbering 13 will contribute their services to the country,” he added.

The Diploma in Health Science in Cardiovascular Technology, the minister said, began in January 2021 with the first intake of 12 individuals who will complete their studies by 2023.

“Training for nurses have been conducted in collaboration with Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) and Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) including a Diploma Programme in Operating Theatre Assistance, Certificate in Caregivers, Advanced Diploma in Palliative Care Nursing and Advanced Diploma in Maxillofacial Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Nursing.”

The minister said priority will also be given to increase capacity in the field of Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) with it under review for approval of the new Allied Health Professionals Service Scheme. The MoH still needs doctors and professionals, the minister said calling local students to work hard and venture into these areas to support the growing health services.